Family Law


California Marital Property

This course examines California laws governing the property rights of married couples and registered domestic partners, including an analysis of the general principles governing the classification of community property and separate property, the management and control of community property, the liability of marital property for the debts of spouses, and division of property on the dissolution of marriage by divorce or death, and some treatment of the rights of non-married cohabitants.

Child Welfare Law and Policy

This course will examine the effects of federal and state child welfare and public assistance programs on children and their families, and especially, on poor and minority children, who have been, and continue to be, disproportionately subject to these programs. In addition to offering a variety of perspectives on the historical and contemporary functions and deficiencies of the child welfare system, the readings will explore the reciprocal relationships between recent welfare “reforms” (e.g. TANF and PWORA) and a number of child protection laws, including the Adoption of Safe Families Act (ASFA), the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), the Multiethnic Placement Act (MEPA), and other child abuse and neglect statutes. The course will be of particular interest to students considering an internship with one of the Bay Area's many child advocacy organizations. Alternative strategies for improving the lives of at-risk children and youth will be discussed, including the role of class actions that seek injunctive relief and monetary damages from public agencies. Students will work in teams or individually on research and policy papers that will be presented to the entire class. With the instructor's permission, students may be able to begin or complete a Writing Requirement in this course.

Children and the Law

This course explores the historical, common law, statutory, and constitutional doctrines of “children’s rights,” "parental autonomy," and "parens patriae" in the context of disputes about legal parentage, the use of assisted reproductive technology to produce children, the status of children raised by same sex parents, domestic and intercountry adoption, adolescents’ access to health care, and children’s quest for identity and citizenship. Several case files are studied in detail in order to explore the distinctive challenges faced by lawyers who represent children in a variety of administrative and judicial proceedings.

Domestic Violence Practicum

Students in the Domestic Violence Law work in one of several government agencies or nonprofit offices in the Bay Area, or with the instructor on state legislation. They may also assist with post-conviction issues faced by battered women in state prisons, and employment issues affecting domestic violence victims. Students interview clients; draft restraining orders, memoranda, op-ed pieces and motions; represent clients at hearings; research policy issues; and attend meetings with government officials, judges and legislators.

Domestic Violence Law Seminar

This course uses an interdisciplinary approach to examine the legal system's response to domestic violence. Historical and psychological materials are considered, and topics in criminal, family, tort, immigration, welfare and constitutional law are explored.

Family Law

This course examines common law, statutory law and federal constitutional principles relating to the formation and dissolution of families. Major topics include regulation of sexual and reproductive behavior, adoption, marriage and its alternatives, divorce and its consequences, the doctrine of family privacy, parenthood and caregiving, the public law of child welfare, illegitimacy and child neglect.

Advanced Topics in Family Law

This course offers students more specialized instruction in specific topics within Family Law.  The topic may vary by semester.  In the past, the course has considered such topics as the legal regulation of sex and sexuality and the regulation of families by federal law.  This class is intended to follow, or complement, the basic Family Law course.  With the instructor's permission, students may be able to begin or complete a Writing Requirement in this course.

Juvenile Justice

This course examines the major jurisdictional categories and the legal doctrines of the original juvenile court and contrasts them with the current treatment of young offenders in juvenile and criminal courts. Emphasis is on the court's evolution over time and prospects for further reform of its juvenile delinquency jurisdiction. The class also compares how criminal and juvenile courts respond to crime by young people.